Norm Keller, Commander, New York Commandery
The New York Commandery of the Naval Order of the United States is one of the original commanderies. Admiral of the Navy John Dewey, the hero of Manila Bay in the Spanish American War, was one of our early Commanders. We generally meet for a luncheon on the first Monday of each month except during the summer. Our signature event is the Morison Award and a black tie dinner where we honor a book and author who has made the greatest contribution to Naval History over the past year. The dinner is usually on the first Monday of November. We have a spectacular venue in the Racquet and Tennis Club on Park Avenue.
Membership in the Naval Order consists primarily of sea service veterans: Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and U.S. Flagged Merchant Marine. Our luncheon speakers generally give a 20 to 30 minute presentation on topics of interest to veterans of the sea services. Many are authors of works of naval history and others are retired senior officers of the sea services.
My own Navy experience started with four years in the enlisted reserves where I achieved a rating of Petty Officer Third Class before entering active duty as a junior officer in the cruiser navy. After a brief time on the USS Salem's final tour I joined the USS Canberra, the nation's first guided missile cruiser, where, among other assignments, I served as Assistant Navigator during her World Cruise. Afterward, I rejoined my reserve division and served as recruiting officer. I mustered out of the reserves as a full Lieutenant when my new career with IBM started to get in the way.